Summer is upon us! You know what this means, right? Lots of nature activities and outdoor explorations for your child.
The Cancer Council NSW gives parents a few useful sun protection recommendations to make sure your child’s outdoor fun doesn’t end up in a sunburn.
Your child’s skin is sensitive to sun radiation
Children and babies have delicate skin, which is why unprotected exposure to UV radiation can increase their risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
The Cancer Council recommends parents not to expose babies under the age of 12 months to direct sunlight (UV level 3 and above).
Tip: Check your local UV levels and choose to go outdoors when the UV levels are below 3.
How to protect your baby’s skin from UV radiation
Cancer Council NSW suggests:
- Use loose-fitting clothes made from light fabric to cover as much of your baby’s skin as possible.
- Find a hat that will protect your baby’s face, ears and the back of their neck.
- Put a shade on your pram and/or stroller.
- Plan your day’s activities ahead of time. This way you can easily reduce your baby’s sun exposure when UV radiation is the highest (between 10am and 2pm).
- Always choose shady spots for your baby’s outdoor activities. Protect your child’s skin from UV radiation even if they’re playing in the shade.
- Apply SPF30+ or higher (water-resistant if you’re at the beach or your baby is playing with water) sunscreen on all exposed skin areas.
Sunscreen on babies… do or don’t?
The Cancer Council recommends parents to first and foremost protect their baby’s skin with physical barriers like light-fabric clothing, wraps, hats and by choosing shady spots for playing whenever possible.
However, if your baby’s skin is going to be exposed to the sun, it’s best to apply sunscreen on all exposed skin areas. Hats and clothing can’t cover it all, so that’s where sunscreen can come to the rescue.
Australasian College of Dermatologist’s instructions on using sunscreen on your baby’s skin:
- Minimise the use of sunscreen on babies under 6 months.
- Test the sunscreen on a small area of your baby’s skin first. Be on the lookout for any sensitive or allergic reactions.
- Apply sunscreen on skin areas that are directly exposed to the sun.
- If your baby’s skin has an allergic reaction to sunscreen, seek advice from your doctor.
Ensure an ongoing sun protection by:
- Constantly checking your stroller covers to make sure your baby is protected from the sun.
- Declaring shade your best friend. Always adjust your outdoor play spots so that your child can safely play outside.
- Encourage your child to keep their hats on.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or often if your child is playing with/in the water.
- Set a good example for your child by creating a habit of always applying sunscreen on your skin.
Is sun protection just for summertime?
For example, in NSW, UV levels remain 3 and above almost all year round, including on cloudy days.
Always check your UV levels with your weather app to make sure you and your baby go outside fully protected from the sun radiation.
For more information from the Cancer Council NSW about sun protection visit: